Gestalt Theory.



My initial reaction to this subject was one of horror.  ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ opened the topic with a seven-line sentence that I have read many times over and I still non-the wiser for the reading.

I was highly relieved when I realised that the Gestalt theory of perception is just an analysis of something that we do all the time naturally to enable us make sense and give order to whatever it is was are viewing around us.

The history isn’t important to comment on here other then the word is German and has no direct translation. Roughly, it means ‘to place’ or ‘to put together’.

Michael Freeman explains that there are 7 laws of perceptual organization.


-We group elements taking into account how close they are to each other and this is the law of proximity.

– In the ‘Law of Similarity’, elements are also grouped by form or content.

-There is also the ‘Law of Closure’ and the ‘Kanisza Triangle’ is a good example.

-The mind also looks for explanation in simplicity in lines, curves and shape.  Looking for symmetry and balance also is also part of the ‘Law of Simplicity’

-Grouped elements are assumed to move together and behave as one and this is known as the ‘Law of Common Fate’

-‘Law of Good Continuation’ means that our eye carries on beyond a line or shapes ending point.

-‘Law of Segregation’ means to make a subject to stand out from the background.




Now, the fact I have resorted to a large amount of paraphrasing is a sure sign that I need time to digest and look at plenty of images to find examples .  I also realise that I am a very visual person and without solid examples of anything in picture form I am lost at sea.

I think, for now, I am content that I am aware that this concept exists. Also that ‘Gestalt’ is a huge academic subject that I can’t hope to fully digest, understand and apply overnight. I am already engaging with the subject on a subconscious level because everybody does! I plan to try and reflect on my application of ‘Gestalt’ within the assignment images and look for digestible further reading in the meantime.


I will add to this research sometime in the future.


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